Real-Time In-Line Sensor for Watewater Monitoring

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EP-D-12-014
Agency Tracking Number: EP-D-12-014
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: B
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
UES, Inc.
4401 Dayton-Xenia Rd., Dayton, OH, 45432-1894
DUNS: 074689217
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Melanie Tomczak
 (937) 426-6900
Business Contact
 Rick Weddle
Phone: (937) 426-6900
Research Institution
A consistent clean water supply is crucial to a stable and healthy population. Contamination of water resources with biological agents or toxins is concerning as clean water becomes a limited resource in society. The National Pollutant Discharge elimination systems (NPDES) permitting program requires permits for industrial and municipal water treatment facilities that discharge directly to surface water. These facilities are required to monitor pollution via indicator-bacteria organisms, such as fecal coliforms and E. coli. The current state-of-the-art for water quality monitoring includes physical sampling followed by transport to labs for analysis, which takes hours or days to determine contamination. There are three main problems with this approach: 1) it does not allow for identification of the contamination source, 2) it does not allow for tracking the contamination path further down the water supply chain, and 3) by the time samples have been analyzed the pollutants have already been released in the effluent. The USE technology proposed here detects biological agents and toxins in real-time by directly monitoring the water supply source with an in-line sensor. This proposed in-line sensor detects and reports contamination in less than 5 minutes. The sensor is compact and versatile, can be used under various flow rate and treatment conditions, and detects contaminants in real-time. Additionally, the platform is “generic” in that ligands for different agents of interest can be integrated and the entire sensor can be multiplexed to detect many different pathogens simultaneously. The actual sensor platform is small (about the size of a credit card for a multi-plexed system) and can be packaged in different types of housing or configurations for different applications, including in-line, hand-held, and remote deployed situations. The social impact of this technology would be tremendous. Tracking contaminants in real-time at various levels of the wastewater treatment process would lead to rapid identification of the source(s) of contamination or location of a shortfall in the treatment process. The Obama administration has established the Water Technology Innovation Cluster (WTIC), from EPA’s Cincinnati location, to bring together groups developing innovative water technologies in the Cincinnati-Dayton-Northern Kentucky-Indiana region. UES was an initial member of WTIC and our CEO/President, Dr. Mina Joshi, sits on its board. Clearly, the current administration feels technologies that ensure and protect clean water are an area in which to invest. UES’s technology proposed here redefines the state-of-the-art for wastewater monitoring and prevention of biological toxins being released into the environment.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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